The third electorate-level Advertiser poll of the campaign (hope they correct that headline soon) is again consistent with the conventional wisdom in showing the Liberals performing less well in Newland than the neighbouring marginal Morialta, where a poll on Sunday pointed to a 10 per cent swing and a 52-48 margin in favour of the Liberals. This poll has Labor incumbent Tom Kenyon with a 53-47 two-party lead over the Liberal candidate, contentious former federal Makin MP Trish Draper, compared with a 5.2 per cent post-redistribution margin. Primary votes after distribution of undecided and informal are 43 per cent Labor, 41 per cent Liberal, 5 per cent Family First and 4 per cent Greens. Mike Rann holds a slender lead over Isobel Redmond as preferred premier, 45 per cent to 43 per cent. The sample size is 524, which produces a margin of error of around 4 per cent.
Highlights, such as they are, of week two:
Mike Rann has said he is prepared to have another debate with Isobel Redmond following Wednesday’s encounter, dispensing with the campaign strategy rule which says incumbents should agree to one debate early in the campaign only to prove they’re not spooked by their opponent. Redmond has responded by calling for an old-style town hall public meeting in a regional area. Wednesday’s debate was screened on Channel Ten at the difficult time of 5.30pm, and seems to have been highlighted by an apology from Mike Rann to Michelle Chantelois and her family for any distress their friendship may have caused. Like most debates it was universally perceieved as a nil-all draw, although Michael Owen of The Australian reckoned a sharp-dressed Redmond scored a style win over Rann, who was a victim of the Ten Network make-up artist and looked drawn and washed-out. Chat on ABC Mornings with Matthew Abraham and David Bevan suggests he may have been suffering a cold.
Pia Akerman of The Australian reports Isobel Redmond has revived Liberal plans for a new hospital in the Barossa Valley, bolstering her bid for key marginal seats in the region. Redmond announced $35 million would be spent on a new 55-bed hospital at Tanunda, on which they promised to spend $12 million in their unsuccessful bid for re-election in 2002. This would replace existing hospitals at Angaston and Tanunda (47 beds between them), which would respectively be demolished and converted into an aged care facility. While located in safe Liberal Schubert, the 30 kilometre radius it would serve covers parts of Light (Labor 2.4 per cent) and Stuart (Liberal 0.4 per cent). Health Minister John Hill complains the funding comes from the $1 billion the Liberals say they will save by rebuilding Royal Adelaide Hospital, a figure the government hotly disputes. The government is yet to release departmental findings on the business case for a new hospital in the Barossa.
ABC Mornings presenters Matthew Abraham and David Bevan complain that after successfully staging candidates debates for Hartley and Mawson in week one, this week they have been rebuffed or had no response from Labor’s Morialta MP Lindsay Simmons, Norwood MP Vini Ciccarello, Mitchell candidate Alan Sibbons and Unley candidate Vanessa Vartto.
The Labor launch on Sunday was light on for showpiece election commitments, being highlighted by a vague promise that 100,000 extra jobs would be created over six years. This would be achieved with help from $194 million on 62,600 extra training places and apprenticeships. Michael Owen of The Australian noted this mirrored a re-election promise by Anna Bligh a year ago, although the time-frame then was three years. The Liberal launch will be held on Sunday.
Mike Rann has given the federal government’s health plans the most enthusiastic response out of the state premiers, saying he was prepared to strongly support the direction of these reforms. Isobel Redmond said she would not be interested in handing over our health system to a federal Labor Government that has so badly mismanaged the home insulation scheme.
The odds on a Liberal win have narrowed, albeit from a high base: Centrebet is now offering $3.60 compared with a starting price of $4.50.
UPDATE (6/3/2010): Nominations having closed yesterday, the election guide has now been updated with full candidate lists in ballot paper orders, photos for all major candidate and campaign updates. Antony Green offers a systematic overview of nominations by party (South Australia’s fairly liberal party registration laws being what they are, there are a couple of little-heralded minor parties in the mix). Labor has got the better of the ballot paper draw in Bright, Hartley, Light, Newland and Stuart, while the Liberals have been favoured in Mawson, Morialta and Norwood. The Liberals have the top position in Mitchell, which is bad news for independent member Kris Hanna; Chaffey favours Karlene Maywald over Liberal candidate Tim Whetstone; and Frome favours Liberal candidate Terry Boylan over independent member Geoff Brock.